Los Angeles, CA – Kobe Bryant scored 31 points and hit the go-ahead shot with nearly three minutes left, and the Lakers claimed another installment of their Los Angeles rivalry with a 113-108 triumph to snap the Clippers' six-game winning streak.
Andrew Bynum returned from a one-game absence and dominated with 36 points, eight rebounds and four blocks, as the Lakers won their fourth straight contest and moved 2 1/2 games ahead of the Clippers for first place in the Pacific Division.
Bynum, who missed Tuesday's four-point win over the Nets due to a sprained left ankle, went 10-of-12 from the foul line.
"It feels good to win," Bynum said. "My ankle is a little sore, but as the game went on it didn't hurt as much. It was a fight for a playoff spot."
Caron Butler had 28 points and Chris Paul tallied 22 points and 16 assists, but the Clippers had their seven-game home winning streak snapped. Blake Griffin totaled 15 points and 14 rebounds, while DeAndre Jordan scored 11 to go with 13 boards.
"I didn't like the way we played in the first half, but in the second half we were more aggressive," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Our turnovers hurt us and Bynum hurt us definitely. We had opportunities down the stretch, but they did what they had to do to win."
Bryant's jumper from the right baseline boosted the visitors to a 105-104 lead with 3:02 left, and the Clippers self-destructed down the stretch.
With possession and a chance to tie the game, Butler lost the ball out of bounds under the basket with a minute left.
Ramon Sessions, who was acquired three weeks ago from Cleveland, then drove to the hoop hard for a layup with 47.4 seconds left and a 108-104 difference.
Paul came back by hitting a quick jumper, but Bryant then rose up from the left baseline, and despite a hand in his face, swished in a jumper with 24.5 on the clock. Bryant then spread his arms in an airplane motion coming off the court during the ensuing Clippers timeout.
Paul missed a three-point shot, and Pau Gasol and Matt Barnes combined to go 3-for-4 from the foul line in the closing seconds.
"We miscommunicated at the end," Paul said. "There's no moral victory here."
Earlier in the game, the sellout crowd at Staples Center gawked at the power of Griffin, who rose above Gasol for a thunderous putback jam. Then, in the third quarter, Griffin used his left hand to deliver a blow to Gasol's face and used his right to throw down a powerful dunk. That one cut the Clippers' deficit to 73-64, but it was an uphill battle.
"I really didn't see when the ball went in," Gasol said. "I was on my (rear). It happened too quick. I don't have a great desire to watch it again.
"It's always a tough battle playing against Blake. He plays physical. I thought I did a good job against him tonight."
The Lakers held a 34-29 lead after one quarter and were in front by as many as 12 in the second before holding a 63-55 edge at the half. Bynum scored 12 in the third, a period that ended with the Lakers holding a 92-81 lead.
The Clippers finally went back in front, 104-103, on a Jordan hook shot in the lane.
The Lakers won the season series, 2-1, in what could be an important tiebreaker should the clubs finish tied at the end of the season. Overall, the Lakers have lost just two season series in franchise history (1992-93 & 1974-75) to the Clippers...Sessions scored 16 to go with eight assists.